Thursday, 28 July 2016

London On The Weekend In My Favourite Dress

I've been a huge fan of Motel Rocks since I first spotted them as a Topshop concession in 2009. Back then (lol) it was all about the bodycon and I bought up four versions of the same dress in different colours and wore them whenever I got the chance! I loved those dresses.

I rarely wear anything too tight any more but I am still totally obsessed with the brand and my collection of Motel dresses have been a godsend these past few weeks. I am currently loving the more floaty shapes and for last weeks heat, this Tiara dress in Elephant Parade was perfect! In true Georgina style, I also have it in two other prints but my parents bought my this bright orange one for christmas and its my favourite of the three.

The Tiara shape is a smock dress with just a little more shape than most of the others, it also has a pretty lace up detail at the back and I just love the Indian (I think?) elephant print on this one. It's actually what inspired my whole blog redesign a few months ago.
I wore it last Saturday for brunch with Andrew. It'd been a few months since our last brunch date so I was very excited to have won a tab at Christophers which I booked up for my first weekend back in the UK. Andrew and I were the first ones in, eager as usual and ordered as much as we could manage. He had an omelette with truffle fries, tea, coffee and juice whilst I also had an orange juice with my lobster benedict and a side of avocado. Obviously. And after that, I had dessert. Go hard or go home right?! We had a lovely couple of hours stuffing our faces with delicious food.  
Since it was such a warm day, we decided to walk it off and spent the afternoon walking through London. Andrew took charge and was my tour guide taking us through a part of town that I dont really know that well. We saw the Tate Modern, Shakespeare's' Globe and The Golden Hinde, I never did any of the tourist stuff when I was younger so this was all totally new. We managed 18,000+ steps before getting on the Central line at Liverpool street to go one stop before it broke down again and we had to get an Uber home. I had a great time and I think the fact that I dont even have any photos from the walk says something, right? It was nice to just enjoy being with Andrew. 
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Monday, 25 July 2016

BRAIN DUMP: My Mental Health

You might have noticed that I’ve recently decided that I wanted my blog to go in a bit more of a travel direction. I look forward to my holidays all year long so with travel being something I’m so passionate about and my blog being something I spend so much time on, I came to the conclusion that it would be something that I would enjoy writing about. And I was right, I have really enjoyed working on my blog over the past few weeks, much more than I can ever remember and hopefully, that is coming through in my content.
I somehow managed to get invited on a press trip which was amazing luck, I got to experience something and somewhere completely new, travel with different people and leave with lots of new content for my blog. As excited as I was, however, there was also a little bit of fear that came with my first ever press trip. Would I not be able to keep up, would I be able to get the content I wanted from it and would I get on with the other bloggers? Those were the normal worries, but with the state of my mental health (which my therapist has done very well to reduce might I add), I was still having weird thoughts like would I be able to carry my case around without Andrew (of course I could), what if I forgot to unplug my charger and the hotel caught fire or what if I wasn't exactly on time so the others left and I was stranded abroad with no way home. But everything was fine. I was fine and I had fun.
My OCD did rear its head a little at the start but rather than making me stressed and upset, it made me smile because it reminded me how bad I used to be and how much easier life is now. I knew that I was checking the door a ridiculously amount of times and of course, it was very annoying to be checking a safe that I hadn’t even put anything in but I also knew that with the new skills that the therapist had taught me and a bit of brain power, I would be able to get it under control and by the next morning I was better, only checking that the door had shut behind me and then getting on with my day without worrying that someone was going to walk in, steal my things and it would have been all my fault because I didn’t check the door.

Things came up, only silly things but where in the past I would have spent days re-running it though my head until I crumbled, but I sorted it out and got on with it. For example, I didn’t bring a laptop with me and I got really anxious when I found out that I was the only one who didn’t. I use my phone for the majority of my blogging but I didn’t want to look unprofessional or like I wasn’t taking it seriously because I was. It took a few hours but rather than having a panic attack I manged to convince myself that I was being ridiculous because having a laptop with me wouldn’t have made one bit of difference to my productivity or my output.

This time last year, I was just about to have a mental breakdown and two months later, I did, but after six months of hell, we gave up with the NHS and got some real help. Even after my first CBT session, I saw a difference. I might not have started acting differently right away but I could see that the way I was thinking wasn’t right and that was a good start. Six months later and spent a week at home on my own (the thing that sent me into meltdown last time) and I managed to get through this whole trip only getting stressed right at the very end when I thought I was going to be late for work on the way back. Obviously, I was still 20 minutes early.

This post was meant to be about something completely different but I guess I just wanted to get it off my chest, hope you guys dont mind!  

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Thursday, 21 July 2016

The International Dollard Route with Stena Line & Visit Germany

This post is the second installment of my road trip with Stena Line. After the ship arrived in Holland, we got on a train to Rotterdam and picked up a car for our three hour drive to Leer, Germany. The tourist board had packed in the activities so even though we weren’t there for that long, we still got to see loads, crossing between Germany and Holland all the day, experiencing as much as we could!
 
I drank tea the East Fresian way
Our first activity of the trip was visiting the Bünting tea museum for an authentic East Fresian tea ceremony. Tea is important to the people of ostfriesland because the land itself is very marshy which leaves their drinking water tasting a bit odd, their solution is to drink it as tea (that or brew it into beer.) They are very particular about how the drink it using only very small cups to ensure the correct proportions. They also won't stir their tea so it settles into 3 layers - the cream on top then the tea and the very sweet tea from the sugar at the bottom.

Stayed in a brand new hotel
We arrived in Leer and checked into the brand new Hotel Hafenspeicher, yep, none of us could pronounce it either! It’s only been open for six months and you could really tell because everything was still in perfect condition. The carpet were plump and full, the walls, spotless and the whole bathroom was sparkling new! My bed was freshly made both days, although that never lasted long as I usually got straight in - it was super comfortable and a lovely room to relax in after a very busy day exploring. I loved to open the curtains wide to let lots of light in as the whole back wall was a window

Breakfast was buffet style and as usual, I always went for the cheese with some fruit and smoked salmon while the girls opted for pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. We also had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant opting for fish both nights, sushi, white fish, tuna steaks, we had it all and every dish was delicious accompanied by a glass of prosecco of course! 



Visited Kiekkaaste (a viewing platform)
You might recognise this funny looking structure from my Instagram. My whole experience of this place was pretty surreal, we walked for 15 minutes along a wooden path that twisted and turned through the reeds it was built above. It felt like something out of I'm a celebrity mixed up with Alice in Wonderland because all you could see and hear were the never ending reeds blowing around in the wind.
Then, when you do finally get to the end, you are confronted by this very odd looking thing on the edge of nowhere.  It’s a viewing platform but it doubles as a bird house and I thought it was pretty cool, it was surrounded with wildlife with lots of tweeting as little birds swooped past and up to their nests.

Ate Dutch delicacies
When we stopped for lunch one afternoon, our guide for the trip, Uli, suggested we try kipsate. None of us has heard of it before but he told us it’s a very popular dish in the Netherlands and simply described it is chicken with peanut sauce (sate then made sense - basically satay chicken) so with that as a description we all ordered it and it was delicious.
We were also surprised to hear that spare ribs were a big thing there as well so on our last day, we stopped off at an American style river ranch and ate sticky ribs and baked potatoes outside in 
the sun!

Drank my first glass of wine
Everyone was very shocked to hear that I had never drunk a glass of wine before so I guess trying the top voted Netherlands wine of 2015 wasn't a bad one to start with. We had one white, one rose and two reds with a board of cheese and some chorizo. I actually really enjoyed the white but both the reds were far too tart for me. After our tasting, we were shown around the vineyards and where the wine is fermented, aged and bottled.


We crossed the narrowest bridge in Germany
On our last day we went out for a little drive. To get to this bridge, we first had to get the car across a river on what they call Pünte, the oldest and last hand operated ferry in Europe. I’m not sure you could really call it a ferry though, it looked more like a raft to me and used to be used to transport cattle across the river. We drove on to it and watched in amazement as the muscly guy pulled the raft across the river on a rope.
After that excitement, we were just five minutes away from Germany’s narrowest car bridge which was just 1.65 metres wide. Julie was pretty freaked out but we manged to get across it with both wing mirrors in tact!

Have Your Visited Any Of These Places?

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Monday, 18 July 2016

Harwich to the Hook of Holland with Stena Line

Last week, the lovely team at Stena Line took me on a European road trip! Myself, the PR and two other bloggers spent three days traveling through and exploring Germany and the Netherlands along the international Dollard route - but of course they had to get us there first.
Stena Line are a ferry company with two super ships that make the journey to Holland and back twice daily. They sorted us out with a rail and sail train ticket for the Britannica, which is one of the two largest Superferries in the world. Our ticket included a cabin for the overnight sail and our train tickets from London to Harwich and a train on the other side in the price - a grand total of £158 return.
I met the girls at Liverpool street station and after a snack run we got on the train at just after 7.30pm and arrived at Harwich station around an hour and a half later. I really enjoy being on an overground train because I love watching the world go by. The journey was made even more enjoyable with mini bottles of prosecco and getting to know the girls I was going to be spending the next few days with.
The train arrived straight into the ferry terminal right on time at 9pm but sadly, the same can't be said for the boat - it was a couple hours delayed leaving Holland so wasn't going to arrive for a while. Luckily the departure lounge was a comfortable place to wait with a cafe and easy access to toilets, plus the football was on so no one actually wanted to leave until that had finished anyway.
When the time came, we went quickly through security and straight onto the ship, it was very easy. By that time, it was getting late so we rushed up to our cabins to drop off our luggage and then went straight to the restaurant for dinner and had a three course meal for €32 at the Metropolitan Restaurant. As it cost extra, it wasn't very busy which was nice and the food was much nicer than I remembered from ferry crossings in the past. I really enjoyed the salmon starter and the milk chocolate panna cotta topped with cream and summer berries for dessert. So delicious.
The cabins reminded me very much of those on a cruise just smaller, I suppose that should have been obvious but I dont really know what I was expecting. The bathroom pods were exactly the same and the way the bunk beds pulled down from the wall was exactly the same too, it was actually quite reassuring for me as it was something familiar from past cruise holidays. What I haven't had on a cruise ship for a very long time though was a lovely huge port hole to look out of so that was an added bonus.
We had a breakfast buffet in the morning before departing the ship. Again Hook of Holland port actually doubles as a station so you don't gave to go far to catch a train. We hired a car at the other end and made a start on hour three hour onward journey. Did you know there's no speed limit in Germany? That and the fact that it sounded like Julie hadn't updated her iPod since 2010 made for a very entertaining ride!
That's it for this post! Keep up to date with my blog posts to see what we got up to when we arrived at our destination!
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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

DIET COKE X ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS GIVEAWAY

Diet Coke have partnered with the highly anticipated Absolutely Fabulous Movie and to celebrate we are going to hold a little giveaway here on my blog!

There will be five winners picked to receive a few Diet Coke and Absolutely Fabulous goodies - Of course there will be a couple of limited edition bottles in each!

Fear not - if you dont win, you can still pick up a 250ml bottle on Ocado, in Selfridges, Liberty London and Boots stores to mark the launch of the film.
 Enter below as usual!
*Open to the UK only.
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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Culotte Jumpsuit & Silk Bomber Jacket

I loved the outfit that I wore to an event last week so much that I thought it should get a whole post to itself! On Tuesday, I was off to Le Meridien in Piccadilly Circus for a special launch event with Andrew and I walked there straight from work so I needed something that worked well for both.

I decided on my black culotte jumpsuit* from Just Fab which seems to be one of my best picks of the summer. It was smart enough for both work and the event but still super comfortable and so easy to wear. I have seriously worn it for everything from shopping to dinner at The Savoy Grill (with a pair of heels) a few weeks ago. It's so versatile.

London has been a very odd temperature lately so I needed a jacket but nothing too stifling because its so ridiculously humid and I just want to wear as little as possible when I have to get a rush hour tube home. Its been a long time since I've bought something and had compliment after compliment (from people I know & people I dont) but that seems to have happened with this satin bomber jacket* that I picked up at my local TK Maxx, at The Brewery, Romford. Everyone seems to think it came from Topshop but it was less than half the price - I always seem to find gems in that branch! 

I finished my outfit with my Michael Kors bag and a pair of converse! I was cool on the train, comfortable at work and just dressed up enough for my event - The perfect outfit!

P.S I dont look too happy do I? haha
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Monday, 4 July 2016

Dinner at Aqua, St Regis Hotel, Mallorca

When we were in Mallorca last summer, Andrew surprised me with a 10 course dinner at the Michelin starred restaurant at the St Regis hotel. Apart from it being the best meal that we have ever had together, I instantly fell in love with the hotel and its beautiful grounds, so I was very excited to get a chance go back this year try their other restaurant. We booked it for our final evening as one last special night to finish our holiday.
This time, we arrived at the hotel at 6.30 pm which unlike last time, meant we had time to have a look around the hotel and explore the ground properly while the sun was out and then and then enjoy our meal as the sun set. It was a lovely warm evening so we were very pleased to eat dinner outside again!

We started with a glass of chilled cava and toasted to our last evening. Soon a bowl of bread arrived with aioli, olives, oil and a light tomatoy dip. I don't usually take much notice of the bread but it was so fluffy and totally delicious - I loved it most with the tomato dip! 

Starters arrived, beautifully presented! I ordered prawns and risotto which was delicious. The butterflied prawns were buttery and full of flavour - they sat on a creamy mound of risotto rice. The menu said that the dish also came with a coriander sauce and I thought it was a brilliant idea that they served this sauce on the side considering how split people are on the taste. I did have a little drizzle of it which really did enhance the taste without being too overpowering.
What Andrew had ordered was so huge that I didn't realise they were actually scallops at first, they were massive and looked very appetising surrounded with lots of colour from the peas, corn and tomatoes in the dish.
 The main courses arrived just as the sun started to set. I had ordered the rack of lamb and Andrew went for the Aqua grill. The lamb cut like butter and the thick sauce that came with it had an intense, rich flavour. The dish was rather big for me with seven cutlets in the portion so I ended up giving a few to Andrew. I ordered my meal with their potato puree (mash) mixed with Iberian ham. I love mash with my meat and the addition of the ham made a huge difference for the flavour and texture of the dish. I was very pleased with my choice. 
Andrew also looked very pleased with his choice as a skewer of different meats on a black slate arrived at the table with a trio of sauces and a sprinkling of Himalayan pink salt on the side. Favourite was a close call between the lamb chop (a small version of what I had) and the juicy, succulent chicken but as expected from Andrew, chicken won!
We had a little break before dessert to just sit back, take in our surroundings and just enjoy being there. The restaurant was actually very busy by this point but not in a horrible hustle bustle way, even though it was full of families with young children, everyone was so calm and relaxed, chatting away and enjoying being there together. It was such a lovely atmosphere with a great ambience. 
The staff were particularity lovely throughout our evening, I'd even go to say it was probably the best service we've ever encounter. Our waitress, Sandra, added that little bit extra to our evening through a perfect mix of manners, professionalism and friendliness throughout. 

Now on to my favoruite part of any meal -dessert. We were already wowed with the presentation of the meal so far but this course was by far the prettiest. I had ordered the chocolate delice which was an intense, dense, rich rectangle of chocolate on a ginger crumb base. I switched the kumquat sorbet for a scoop of my favourite, raspberry, to accompany it and cleanse my mouth after every few bites. There was also some stewed kumquats, a tweel ring and a quenelle (got that from GBBO didn't I) of chocolate cream all served on a glass plate. 
Andrew ordered the chocolate fondant which came lined with berries and a scoop of vanilla. It was the perfect size and as it was very light, it didn't leave him feeling overloaded with chocolate.
By the time we had finished,  we had been there for three hours indulging in a thoroughly delicious meal. The food, the settings and the lovely staff meant that this is one meal that will remember for a long time!
Huge thanks to Aqua for our evening! This meal was complementary in return for this review but all thoughts are my own. As I'm sure you can tell we were pretty impressed!
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